CASI Student Programs Blog

Since 2007, the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania has supported nearly 200 students! Welcome to the home base for CASI students and alumni to share their thoughts, reflections, and ongoing learnings about their internships, research projects, and travels in India and beyond.

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Scientific research assures the world of causality with the aphorism that the results were generated in a “controlled” setting. When medical researchers test drugs or behavior on lab mice, they measure their diet, their sleep patterns, their activity levels, as well as treatment dosage. Petri dish specimens get to marinate at length in climate-controlled conditions, […]

This is my second year as a CASI summer research fellow, and my second year researching a complicated behavior phenomenon and community in my hometown of Mumbai, India. This research is based in Mumbai’s Malvani neighborhood: the undefined borders of the same manage to pin the problem of assembling structure and amorphous meaning in social […]

Some of the most interesting experiences this summer have come from seeing the Aravind model in action in a very wide range of places. I’m interested in healthcare delivery, and it’s been fascinating to see the different meanings their mission takes in different settings. There are many ways in which components of a system must work […]

I have been back just a little over a week now from India. Daily life has changed so much! The yodels of vegetable vendors no longer marks the beginning of my day and the howling of stray dogs no longer marks it’s end. I’ve gone from taking rickshaws into unfamiliar terrains back to walking familiar […]

Plastic is political. Throughout the summer, in voices of experts, municipal workers and recyclers, there seemed to be a contest. There were technocratic solutions to the problem of managing plastics as well as positions that held that plastic processing infrastructures are inherently political. Within the latter category, NGOs, trade unions and workers were confident that […]

Liminal space: To be on the precipice of something new But not quite there yet To be frank, I did not know what a liminal space was before this trip. So thank you to Celeste and Manya :). But it’s a pleasant term to help shape this blog post rather than just call it a […]

Hello again! For this second blog post’s title, I wanted to take a page out of Into Thin Air. This is my acclimation process as I navigate different terrain than Everest. While my family and I usually visit relatives in India every other summer, it’s still a bit of a jarring but no less exciting […]

The area surrounding the Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai is dotted with municipal trucks and small scrap shops. The number of these informal waste segregation units steadily rise as one moves closer to the dumping ground. At one end of the road lies the “600 tenement” dry waste segregation station. This is the formal segregation […]

Although I’ve been to India quite a few times before, saying goodbye this time was extremely difficult. My experience in India this summer was amazing. “Amazing” doesn’t even encompass half of the joy I feel when I reflect on my time in India. It was two months filled with constant exploration, exciting work, and quality […]

In our last week at Aravind, we woke up at 6:15 am to go to a 7 am walking tour of Madurai. It was called Once Upon a Madurai, and it was organized by a company called StoryTrails, which Miral recommended to us. It was a very different tour experience from what you’d usually find […]